There is an art and a science to delivering exceptional winery tours, and both are equally important. The science is in the choreography and the content, but the true art is in the presentation and delivery.
What time does the 11 o’clock tour start? At 11 o’clock of course!
Start and end on time. Many wineries request that guests show up 10 -15 minutes early for tour appointments; if guests then to have to wait longer for the experience to actually begin, it can be detrimental to the overall experience.
Map out the tour from start to finish, including all the stops in between. What are we talking about at each point of interest? This choreography will ensure that we are maximizing our goals for telling our brand story, educating our guests, and creating sales opportunities.
When does the tour end? After the guests have completed their purchases and joined your wine club or email list. We want the tour to end in the retail room if we have one, and we will be there to answer additional questions and make recommendations for purchases. This will boost our individual sales as well as overall winery sales.
Guests will only remember five things from our presentation, and if asked to repeat them they will only get three of them correct. Let’s make sure that the brand message is clear to help guests remember the experience and the brand long after their visit. Over-analytical or technical speak may be good for a few but not for the many – read the audience to find the right balance.
“To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom,” as Bertram Russell so eloquently stated. Public speaking remains the number one fear in America. The art of a truly exceptional tour is all about the guide. Giving them a few pointers to help their public speaking and presentation skills can move from a well-choreographed tour to a phenomenal experience for guests. Here are some WISE tips to help:
#1 WISE Tip: Breathe. Often times in stressful situations we forget to breathe deeply. This can lead to raised shoulders which will stress your vocal cords and reduce your capacity to speak well. Consciously breathe, make sure that your shoulders are at ease, and that you are relaxed.
#2 WISE Tip: Enthusiasm, not Mania. Don’t get too amped or excited. Many times, with new tour guides we see they are very amped, but the excitement doesn’t carry well. It causes one to speak too fast which makes the tour feel rushed. Maybe skip that extra cup of caffeine before touring guests.
#3 WISE Tip: Professionalism. Beware of repeating terms like “OK Guys,” “This Way Guys.” Using proper vocabulary and not street language shows more credibility as a DTC professional. Instead of ‘Guys,’ consider ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ or ‘Everyone.’
#4 WISE Tip: Rehearse. Grab a co-worker or someone you trust to help you map out your tour and decide where and when you will be speaking, and what emotions you are hoping that your guests will be experiencing at different parts of your journey. Practice, practice, practice…
#5 WISE Tip: Talk TO, not through. Whether it is a tour for two or fifty, talk to them. Make eye contact. Smile. Engage the audience. Speak as if you are speaking to the back of the room so that all can hear you. Try to create smaller sub-groups within the larger group to engage in conversation and create a sense of intimacy. Ask the audience questions to involve them, and always be patient and respectful with the guests.
#6 WISE Tip: Be aware. Notice the surroundings. If there is large machinery running which makes it difficult to engage, save the presentation for another room. Notice positioning to ensure that the guest always gets the best view. Position yourself where you can easily speak to them but where they will get the best vantage point. After all, we see it every day, but this is new to our guests.
#7 WISE Tip: Body Language. Non-verbal cues make up 70% of the conversation. Closed body language makes you appear unwilling to engage or even insecure. Some closed positions to avoid are: crossing your hands in front of you or behind you and crossing your arms in front of your chest. Keep your body in an open position to appear interactive: Stand straight, shoulders down in a relaxed position and face your group.
#8 WISE Tip: Project your voice. Speak through your diaphragm. If you tighten your stomach muscles it allows you to speak through your diaphragm which pushes more energy and strength into your voice, without abusing your vocal cords by shouting.
# 9 WISE Tip: Modulate your voice. Avoid reciting as if you are reading from a script. You may wish to tape record or video record yourself so you can see areas that might need some polishing. Avoid that airliner voice or that Cheer Leader, ‘Rah, Rah, Rah’ voice. Speak slowly, deliberately, and vary the pace and the volume to communicate the important words and points. This is our chance to entertain and tell stories. Be enthusiastic and practice, practice, practice.
#10 WISE Tip: It’s all about the guests. It is all about the guests – what we want to show them, how we want to make them feel, and what we want them to remember. We need to lead our guests with confidence and have fun.
We know that professional, educational, and entertaining tours result in happy guests with a higher propensity to buy wine, join the wine club, and sign up for the email list. Let’s maximize these opportunities with attention and practice in the art and science of conducting winery tours.